(Featured photo: Jenice Dunayer and Jackie Thornton)**
Together they share over 67 years of fundraising and volunteerism
Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC) is not a new organization to Jackie Thornton, chair of the 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala chair along with her daughter, Jenice Dunayer, both born and raised in Dallas. Jackie’s connection to the nonprofit began in 1992 when she became the executive director of A Weekend to Wipe Out Cancer, which was changed to Wipe Out Kids Cancer, because she said it was important for the community to understand that it was a year-round organization raising funds for pediatric cancer research.
Jackie first met WOKC founder, Cindy Brinker Simmons, in 1988 while she was on the board of Children’s Cancer Fund. They became close friends and thus began long lasting friendships with other WOKC supporters and Fave Five friends, Betty Lovell, Mary Dowling and Connie Yates, those 30+ years ago and are still going strong. Raised in Dallas, she graduated from Kimball High School and attended UT Arlington. She volunteered at her children’s school, church, Chamber of Commerce and more for 10 years and in 1988, fundraising became her profession for a total of 45+ years. She was president of Dallas Junior Forum, created the Forum Fantasy Gift Market, chaired the Children’s Cancer Fund Beyond the Rainbow Luncheon and chaired the Chip Moody Golf Tournament benefiting Children’s Cancer Fund. She also worked for Buckner International as Development Director, raising funds for their international programs.
Jenice grew up in Richardson and graduated from UT Austin with a BBA in Marketing. She has been involved in philanthropy since 2000. Prior to that, she had a 10-year career as a certified shopping center Regional Marketing Director for Simon Shopping Centers and Prime Retail Outlet Malls covering Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California. She retired from that career and became a full-time mom and school fundraising volunteer in Highland Park Schools and Shelton, holding a variety of PTA positions, including president. Her involvements also included her volunteering for five years+ as the PTA Auction chair. She began volunteering for Family Legacy (mission trips in Africa) and was a Zumba instructor at Brother Bills Helping Hand (food pantry for the west Dallas community), becoming their first gala chair when they celebrated their 75th year in 2019 and still volunteers there. Some other nonprofits she is involved in include Friends of Klyde Warren Park, JDRF and the Dallas Junior League. Jenice accepted the gala chair position at WOKC in January 2020.
“Chairing this Gala with mom is so important to me,” Jenice said. “To work alongside my mother/mentor in this capacity makes me so proud. She’s my number one supporter and we think so similarly that we know exactly how an event should be executed. We both enjoy working with talented people and strive to lead and recognize our committee members’ individual skill sets. We come from a long legacy of Godly, strong, volunteer-minded women in our family and are thrilled to finally work together doing what we love!”
Jackie summed it up by saying, “While I was executive director of WOKC, Clint Sumrow, who is currently serving on the WOKC board, was one of my “ambassadors” now called Warriors (children fighting cancer.) He was six years old when diagnosed with cancer and today, we are volunteering together to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. It is very emotional and heartwarming for me to be serving with WOKC cancer survivor Clint Sumrow, my dear Fave Five friends, Betty, Connie, Mary, and Cindy, and my daughter, Jenice. I definitely feel like I’ve come to a ‘full circle of life.’ ”
Join in supporting the Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at the Arts District Mansion. Title sponsor is Jersey Mike’s Subs. Honorary chairs are Tatiana and Peter Cancro, Founder and CEO, Jersey Mike’s Subs. The evening begins with a champagne cocktail reception, program, seated dinner, live auction. There is a tribute to the kids who are WOKC Warriors honored with a Tribute Walkway. Complimentary Valet Parking. For more information visit the website at https://wokc.org/gva_event/40th/ or contact Ann Whaley, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-987-4662.
About Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC):
Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC) is a Dallas-based nonprofit organization founded in 1980 by Cindy Brinker Simmons in memory of her mother, the late great tennis champion Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly Brinker, who died of cancer at age 34. For four decades, WOKC has been dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer by funding innovative research, education, and treatment.
The mission of WOKC is to work relentlessly to see the day when cancer is no longer a threat to ANY child.
Additionally, WOKC has provided hope to children diagnosed with cancer and their families through multiple social engagement programs …”medicine for the soul” as parents have described. WOKC has funded $7 million in seed money for its novel research projects, which have received $22 million in additional grant money over these past 40 years.
CHILDHOOD CANCER REALITIES: Reported by the National Institutes of Health
* Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children
* 43 children are diagnosed each day with cancer (1 every 30 minutes) in the U.S. 1 out of 8 children will not survive
* Nearly 60% of those who survive will have long-lasting chronic health conditions as adults
(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz.)